Microsoft and AWS announced another collaboration in October, called Gluon, with the intent of sharing and providing access to a deep learning AI development platform. Broad access will enable developers of deep learning frameworks to come up with faster iterations, share libraries of pre-built components, and train algorithms.
Gluon is a joint effort that is an open-source, deep learning, neural networks based solution for machine learning. With machine learning models and the Python API, all levels of programmers will be able to build using simple, concise code, while not giving up performance. The neural networks include pre-built components which can be reused, and can train algorithms for faster definition, quicker debugging and therefore quicker results. Features not found in other frameworks include dynamic graphs and deep support for sparse data.
Gluon promotes reuse with complex model libraries. Gluon also uses a technique of hybridization, which is a process for computed graphs to be cached after computation and used for later iterations. Graphs are also exportable, allowing the graphs to be served on a mobile device.
Gluon improves computing efficiency by scheduling and distributing computations across GPU’s
Apache MXNet 0.11 is currently supported, the AI framework supported by Amazon. Microsoft’s Cognitive Toolkit (CNTK) will be supported in a future release. For developers ready to get started, specifications have been published, and tutorials are available in a GitHub repository.
In the announcement, TakeroIbuki, a senior research engineer at DOCOMO Innovations, said, “We think the Gluon interface will be an important addition to our machine learning toolkit because it makes it easy to prototype machine learning models. The efficiency and flexibility this interface provides will enable our teams to be more agile and experiment in ways that would have required a prohibitive time investment in the past.”
This is the second time that Amazon and Microsoft have announced a collaboration on artificial intelligence. In August, each company’s digital assistants would be able to work with each other. With this collaboration, Microsoft’s Cortana will use Amazon’s Alexa retail knowledge, and Alexa can access the productivity features of Cortana.